The Health Advocate

by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

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To stay healthy and full of energy starts with food preparation in the kitchen. Your exercise routines are pointless unless they are complemented by quality nutrition. Creating healthy and balanced meals requires consistency and dedication. Getting in the right mindset about food can prevent or help treat eating disorders and can help you get in the best shape possible. Here are four simple tips for creating balanced meals.

Include Key Components

Balanced meals need four parts: protein, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fat. Having the right amounts of each of these components ensures that you will feel satisfied and energized. A great idea is to batch cook your meals for the week. Once you have cooked all of your components, grab some Tupperware, and start packing!

Try New Foods

Balance is also about trying new foods. You do not always have to have chicken and brown rice. At the grocery store, pick out items like lentils, quinoa, kale, and passion fruit. A great way to introduce new foods is to vary one part of your meal at a time. Try changing the type of bread you use for your sandwich or adding vegetables to your morning omelet. Also, use seasonal fruits and vegetables to your plate to make it more appealing. Balanced meals do not have to be boring! The joy of eating comes from food that looks amazing. The variety will keep the meals interesting and prevent you from making poor choices.

Follow the Pyramid

To ensure nutritional balance, eat the USDA pyramid for all the major food groups. Grains, vegetables, fruit, milk, protein, and oils all need the correct proportions to create a balanced meal. Starvation diets that eliminate food groups are difficult to maintain and are incredibly unhealthy. Consistency and balance are key for good health.

Make a Plan

Creating balanced meals means spelling out your options. A specific plan ensures that your goal is realistic and attainable. Start with a smaller target like adding a piece of fresh fruit, and then work up to making all of your meals balanced. Dedicate a day of your week for shopping and meal preparation. It takes time to create new eating habits. Expect to eat occasional unbalanced meals, but set a goal to have quality meals ninety percent of the time. Soon, you will be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

Balanced meals require a little effort, but are well worth the reward. Commit to a plan, have a vision, and execute your new lifestyle.

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